Phil Wiese
Phil Wiese
Phil Wiese grew up spending most of his time outdoors working on his family's farm. Over the years, he has developed a passion for exploring the great outdoors by fishing, hunting, hiking, and camping. He has taken over the family tree farm near Wild Cat Den where he continues to work on new conservation projects. Phil also works as an RV sales specialist at Premier RV in Blue Grass.

Muscatine Living

When I hear the word rut, I automatically think of one of two things: 1. Being stuck on something and needing change. 2. The breeding season for white tail deer here in Eastern Iowa, in which deer are moving more than usual, chasing, fighting, and scraping and so on for the next doe to court. Avid hunters reading this will understand the excitement the rut brings.

I grew up from a young age hunting pheasants and deer. As a kid, I loathed opening day of deer season because it meant getting up at the crack of dawn so I could sneak into my hunting place without deer seeing me. I wasn’t a morning person back then. Years passed without me hunting until an old neighbor of mine, who became a father, invited me to go hunting with him. “Deer Camp,” as we grew to call it, became one of my favorite weekends of the year. It included hanging out the night before deer season, eating a big meal, and sitting around the fireplace talking guy stuff. Sometimes it included watching a good action movie.

Several years back, I was stuck in a rut when it came to land management on my family’s tree farm. My goal for our property has always been to have the perfect balance between economic and environmental impact. I’ve had the privilege of working with Mark Vitosh from the Iowa DNR and our local USDA extension office at executing forest improvement plans as well as conservation projects that benefit and improve wildlife habitat. Eliminating unwanted shrubs, invasive species, and thinning out undesired trees making room for food producing ones such as oak are just a couple of examples of land management that have helped improve habitat resources on the farm.

A white tailed deer buck. Stock photo.

Land management isn’t the only rut I’ve been stuck in. For years I drank excessively, which affected jobs, relationships, and my health. I reached a point in my life where I needed a change. I got help for my drinking and sobered up and have stayed that way. Life is better now. I no longer wake up hung over. I have the best job I’ve ever had and give 100% for the first time to my work. Relationships have improved. I feel healthier and more energetic than ever before. Getting out of this rut wasn’t easy. It took getting help. I still go to meetings to stay out of that rut. The benefits have been life changing.

If you are reading this and you are deer hunting over the next two weeks, good luck and stay safe. If you are reading this and feel like you are stuck in a rut, maybe try getting out of your comfort zone like the deer do. Whether it is a job you don’t like, a relationship that needs improved, a lifestyle change, or even fighting depression and anxiety, fight for what you want; chase your dreams. The white tail deer are moving around more than usual right now chasing what they want. When it comes to improving your life and the environment around you, it’s time you do the same.

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